The power of communities

August 10, 2008 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

What benefits could there be for developing communities within the stationery industry?

There are few real communities within the stationery industry, and yet many disparate groups who could benefit from greater association, non-competitive knowledge-sharing and support.

Let’s think about the potential communities…

  • Companies – be they suppliers or resellers (internal staff communities)
  • The Dealer Community
  • Exhibitions eg attendees of Paperworld or SOPX for example – trade and suppliers
  • etc

How does community development differ from other marketing tools?

The nature of a community is that it works together for joint benefit – a member of a community buys into this. A user of a product or service, on the other hand, implies that they take…and don’t give. We should be generating engagement and buy-in, building advocates who support the brand or service and spread the word.

The terminology is important. A community is not developed at a campaign level. A campaign is short-lived. A community, however, will grow and develop. You spend money on a campaign, whereas communities are an investment as it is about building long term value which will grow as the community develops.

The best marketing is about creating connections and engagement – communities achieve this, they give a sense of belonging and a resonance with a brand, company or industry or any other ‘group’ where value can be gained by participation.

With a community, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Entry filed under: Communities, Marketing, New Media, Office Products Market. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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